Monday, January 29, 2007

News from Boston - good or bad?

Change in life is necessary, otherwise it would become stagnant and boring and there would be no growth. I get that. But sometimes when some things change, I don't get it.

Perhaps this is old news for some, or it's already been spread across someone else's blog, or on a newspaper article is some other city. But this news is new news for me. Here is what it reads:

NEW for 2007: The 2007 Boston Marathon will utilize a two-wave start with the fastest 10, 000 qualifiers starting at 10:00 a.m. followed by the rest of the field at 10:30 am.

I have issues with this. I knew the time had changed from the legendary afternoon race to a new mid-morning start. If you think about being out on the course, and the things you see and hear, and run past - the 'stuff' that's legendary of the Boston Marathon, a 2-hour earlier race is actually a big deal. It'll be different out there. So, okay. Life changes. But the 2-wave thing really gets me. Boston is prestigious, historical, competitive, expensive . . . you could insert millions of adjectives. It's an honor to qualify and be allowed a chance to run. It takes a lot of hard work. It becomes about reaching goals and lifelong dreams. So then, you qualify. You meet your goals, you 'get there', you've done your work . . . and you get placed in wave 2 with the 'rest of the field'. What the heck is with that? Is that the real race? The real Boston? The race that makes all your dreams come true? Or is that just the second wave, after the crowds are done watching, and the results are done being scored. I mean, it's Boston, people work a lifetime to get there, and some people never have any hope of being one of 'the fastest 10,000 qualifiers'. Shouldn't they still get to run the same race as everyone else? Starting corrals will be different, media focus will be different, crowds and trains and parking will be different. Think how many more men than women will be in that first wave. It'd be one thing if they told you up front that it was like the Olympic Trials and there was an 'A' qualifying standard and a 'B' qualifying standard. But maybe I just missed that fine print somewhere.

To clarify . . I did qualify for Boston, and I did register. I could've chosen one of 3 marathon times to use for my 'qualifying' time. I chose to use one of my slower times, and save my faster Portland time because due to the date I ran that one, I could use it for Boston 2008 - to run the race again, or in case I get injured this year. The 'news' article that I reproduced above actually goes on to state that you can update your registration with a faster qualifying time until March 1st. So, my dilemma has become whether or not to use a time that is 10 minutes faster, and increase my chances to be in that first 10, 000 wave. In reality, I'm not going to want to go another year after this. I'd rather go run London or Eugene, OR. Why not submit the faster time, and let chips fall where they may. But I'm still mad. Not just for my own sake, but for the whole second half of the Boston field whether I'm in that group or not. It's just not Boston.

15 comments:

Vince A. said...

Well you are right, this was in place last year for the first time and I agree with your perspective. last year I ran at the back end of the first wave (corral 9?), and for this year I ended up taking my fastest qualifying time from my two qualifyers of last year to ensure that I make the 1st wave again. I'd like to see it all back together for the reasons you mentioned.

Anne said...

The wave start's been in effect for at least a year now. I knew people in the second wave last year and none complained, but they were just happy to be there and weren't trying to pull out a fast one.

iliketoast said...

My goal was to qualify ... but not necessary to race. I'd pick New York , Berlin and a number of other races before it. Maybe even more so now that those changes have been made.

Danielle said...

It is too bad that things have to change...sure the earlier start might be nice for the heat factor that can be in place, but what about the Sox game that lets out as runners are coming through so you get more cheering? I had a friend run in the 2nd wave last year and she was fine with it. It is too bad though. That is a dilemma though, I think personally, I'd hold the time, 2008 with qualifiers out there, it would be the most awesome time to run it.

Bob said...

I have never given this much thought but I have to say I agree with you 100%. I understand there are likely more qualifiers then ever but there has to be another way to make it work.

Joe said...

That sucks. If I were you, I'd submit the slower time and save the other one for next year in case you get injured. Anyway, wouldn't you want to have the chance to run it twice to see if you can improve your time?

D said...

I hadn't really given the whole thing much thought. I guess I'm just excited to be able to go. I suggest you leave your application alone because i'm quite sure that I'll be in that second wave and I plan to be quietly running behind you using you as my pacer. . . . . . that is if I end up running it. Kidding!

JustRun said...

I don't know, I guess part of me isn't as Boston "invested" since I won't even be able to qualify for many, many more years but also, I see your point about the wave start. Is this just a progress thing? An evolution, if you will. Or is it a product thing? Have they allowed the race to get to something that can't accomodate both runners and tradition? I don't know. I'd say they'd do better to preserve the tradition- seems to me if any race were to do that, THIS would be the one.

E-Speed said...

use the new faster time. You can still use it again next year. (I only know taht because I contemplated using my faster Columbus time again for this year if I went)

Josh said...

Hmmm, I am torn on this one...

The New York Road Runners is going to start experimenting with waved starts at our the local races. One the one hand it's too bad that we can't all race together at the same time. On the other hand, the chutes are so crowded you can't get a good clean start.

One of these days I'll BQ and when I do I'll run Boston. If I am in the second start... So be it.

IHateToast said...

i'm betting that there will be a blur and not a cut after 7 miles. some have busted their butts and might not be running their best... injured, bad day, whatever... and if they're at the end of the first wave, then those at the head of the second will catch them. and i bet many from the second will not be able to resist trying to catch up. i don't think it'll look like 2 groups.

i also heard that people like to wait around for those scrappers at the end who never qualified but just hop in and run. people will be there to watch. i have never felt i had less of a crowd.

you'll be fine. now go and have a cookie!

Kurt said...

I myself never worry about the changes. I personally like when things change up. I just never get to emotionally involved with a race I guess. (No race it isn't you, it is me!)

Sarah said...

Personally, the earlier the better for me. But I can understand the significance of changing the start time. And unless the first wave is just for the truly elite (like they do for the women at NYC), I'd be a bit irked too.

Whatever you decide to do I hope you are happy with your decision!

Just12Finish said...

This would bug me, because if I ever stand a chance of qualifying, it sure won't be by much!

Why can't they just release the corrals sequentially at small timed intervals?

stephruns said...

In the end it won't matter when you start no? All that matters is to have a good run...time is time, no matter if started at 10 or 10:30. The only mess I see are the water cups everywhere on the street left from wave 1!